Insane Airbnb hosts shouldn’t consider Vrbo the answer – Skift

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I hear chatter from Airbnb hosts looking to Vrbo challenge the $ 93 billion short-term rental giant. They ask when is Vrbo going to expand its Fast Start Host Recruitment program beyond the US, Europe and other geographies?

Why not strike while the anger of a segment of Airbnb hosts, alienated by Airbnb’s pro-guest cancellation refund policy at the start of the pandemic, is still high?

The Vrbo Fast Start program, which offers incentives for Airbnb super hosts to co-list primarily on Vrbo, officially debuted in the United States three months ago, but a European launch is weeks or even months away. Or maybe Europe isn’t a top priority for Vrbo right now.

It is clear that the Expedia Group does not intend to try to tackle Airbnb head-on in cities and in many countries, but will stick to its sweet spot for the whole house, will increase the ‘offers and will charge for destinations where it sees opportunities.

Speaking at an Evercore ISI conference earlier this month, Expedia Group CEO Peter Kern explained how Vrbo did not reverse strategy during the pandemic but took advantage of opportunities.

This is probably smart policy, but it will be a disappointment for many hosts who are hoping that Vrbo will become a major challenger to Airbnb at all levels.

“I mean look, we haven’t changed what Vrbo is during Covid in the sense that we haven’t decided we go all the way to big cities and this was our moment or whatever. “said Kern. “We pushed where we were already, which turned out to be an extremely strong use case during Covid. “

Kern said Vrbo has made market share gains against Airbnb, particularly in Vrbo’s largest market, the United States, “looked at the brand” and recorded “tremendous wins”.

Expedia Group / Vrbo will look to add vacation rentals, filling shortages in places where demand exceeds supply, such as in Florida beach towns this summer, he said.

“But overall, we think we’re going to stick with the whole house model and just try to push harder and win more markets, and at least give our main competitor a run for them. money in most places we can, ”Kern mentioned.

So Vrbo has ambitions and can be an Airbnb alternative for hosts in certain markets, but don’t look for big things from Vrbo in large urban areas, for example, which was Airbnb’s strength before the pandemic.

It can go up to to be Airbnb’s main global short-term rental challenger, but has not shown that it has the means to be a serious vacation rental challenger to date.

For its part, Expedia Group, which includes brands ranging from to and Expedia for Business, has many areas it needs to focus on besides Vrbo and short-term rental.

So, while Airbnb at the start of the pandemic scaled back its ambitions as an online travel agency in flights and, to some extent, hotels, to focus on rentals and short-term experiences, the company Vrbo’s mother, Expedia Group, has much broader interests.

Consider this: Vrbo doesn’t even have a full-time leader: Vrbo president Jeff Hurst splits his time as COO of the Expedia brands.

Lack of focus will undoubtedly be an issue in Vrbo’s growth trajectory.

In short

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